Dexter Cattle  - The Breed Ideal and Breed Standard

Understanding the

Breed Standard and Breed Ideal for Dexter Cattle in Australia

You may find the terms Breed Ideal and Breed standard used in various editorials and regulations published by DCAI and wonder what the difference is and of which one you are supposed to be taking notice. For members who have been involved with Dexter cattle for an extended period of time it is all common knowledge but for newer members it may be a little confusing.

 

The Dexter Cattle Breed Ideal was the first set of guidelines used by the Australian Association to describe what the Dexter Cattle breeders should aspire to in their breeding programs. It was based on the English Breed Ideal, which was the most logical example to use at the time.

 

Over time it was noted that there was a need to update that Breed Ideal to better reflect and guide the Australian Breeders. This evolution of the breed standard also occurred in other countries as they adjusted the criteria to better suit their respective herds.

 

As a result the DCAI Dexter Cattle Breed Standard was developed. This is based on the Breed Ideal but offers some expanded information about the various structural straits and characteristics of Dexter Cattle. It is the Breed Standard that is used as a guide to what is acceptable, undesirable or unacceptable for registration into the Australian Herdbook. Other traits described in the Breed Ideal do not impact on the eligibility for registration but do provide an excellent guide to a number of traits that should always be considered when selecting stock.

 

The Breed Ideal and Breed Standard are published in the DCAI Herdbook Regulations as separate documents one referencing the other. To make things easier to understand on this page they have been amalgamated into one table to allow for easy reference and understanding of both when assessing cattle.

 

The bolded text in section is what is noted in the original breed ideal.

Subheading  - Allowable:  describes traits that are allowable and have been taken from what we now refer to as the Breed Standard.

Subheading - Undesirable:  traits that do no exclude an animal from registration but it is recommended that breeding programs be directed toward breeding out those traits rather than perpetuating them.

Subheading - Unacceptable: describes traits that are unacceptable for registration.

 

DCAI does not inspect animals prior to registration and places the onus of animal selection on the breeder. It is in the best interest of the future of the Dexter Breed for members to be diligent in their herd selection.

 

The Breed Ideal and Breed Standard are both printed in full in the DCAI Herdbook Regulations.

The Breed Ideal & Breed Standard simplified

COLOUR: Wholly black, wholly red, and wholly dun are of equal merit.

ALLOWABLE: Black / brown tinge Red with darker face

UNDESIRABLE: Mealy muzzle

UNACCEPTABLE: Any colour other than Black, Red or Dun

WHITE MARKINGS: MALE

ALLOWABLE: Small amount of white on organs of generation. White hairs in switch of tail. A few white hairs in coat.

UNDESIRABLE: White pigmentation on the under line behind the navel. White flecking of hairs over all or part of body.

UNACCEPTABLE: Patches of white pigment anywhere other than on the underline behind the navel.

WHITE MARKINGS: FEMALE

ALLOWABLE: White pigment on underline behind navel, including udder. White hairs in switch of tail and on vulva. A few white hairs in coat.

UNDESIRABLE: White pigmentation on under line forward of navel. Pronounced white flecking of hairs over all or part of body.

UNACCEPTABLE: Patches of white pigment anywhere other than on the underline or udder.

HORNS: Should be moderately thick, with an inward, upward curve. Removal of horns will not be penalised in the show ring. Polled animals are acceptable but must be notified.

ALLOWABLE: Polled animals are acceptable if from one of the sources of polling recognised by the society, or if pedigree is supported by blood-type certificate. (Note: DNA testing has now replaced blood typing)

HEIGHT COWS: HEIGHT OVER RUMP AT 3 YEARS OLD (AT HIP BONE)

COWS:- The preferred height is between 97 cm (38 inches) and 107 cm (42 inches) at the rump.

ALLOWABLE: 91 cm (36 inches)- 112 cm (44 inches) approx

UNDESIRABLE: Under 91 cm (36 inches) or over 112 cm (44 inches) approx

Back to top

HEIGHT BULLS: Height over the Rump at three years old (at the Hip Bone)

BULLS: The preferred height is between 102 cm (40 inches) and 112 cm (44 inches) at the rump.

ALLOWABLE: Under 97 cm (38 inches) or over 117cm (46 inches) approx

UNDESIRABLE: Under 97 cm (38 inches) or over 117cm (46 inches) approx

TESTICLES & TEATS (BULLS): Well hung testicles of even size. Four well-defined teats, evenly placed.

UNDESIRABLE: Fewer than four teats. Teats markedly uneven

UNACCEPTABLE: More than four teats. Absence or atrophy of testicle Scrotal hernia.

UDDERS & TEATS - COWS: Udder should be well attached, with high and wide rear attachment, and carried well forward. Teats should be medium size, well placed on udder, hanging plumb and equal in length. All four quarters should be of equal size.

ALLOWABLE: Rudimentary extra teats (These should be removed as soon after birth as possible)

UNDESIRABLE: Blind quarters, except when caused by mastitis. Bottle teats, Misshapen, uneven udder.

UNACCEPTABLE: Fused teats, either with other main teats or with extra teats.

LEGS, FEET & GAIT - MALE: Good width between both front and back legs. Feet should be short toed, deep heeled, level soled. They should not turn either outwards or inwards.

ALLOWABLE Slightly clicking in fetlocks, provided this is not accompanied by twisted fetlocks, or twisted feet.

UNDESIRABLE - Overgrown feet, low at heel. Slightly clicking fetlocks uneven toes

UNACCEPTABLE: Twisted fetlocks. Feet turned in or out. Badly clicking fetlocks Throwing legs sideways when walking. Splayed gait.

LEGS, FEET & GAIT - FEMALE: Good width between both front and back legs. Feet should be short toed, deep heeled, level soled. They should not turn either outwards or inwards.

ALLOWABLE: Slightly clicking in fetlocks, provided this is not accompanied by twisted fetlocks, or twisted feet.

UNDESIRABLE: Overgrown feet, low at heel. Severely clicking fetlocks Twisted fetlocks, Feet turning in or out.

HEAD: Short and broad, tapering gracefully towards a broad muzzle. Jaw should be wide enough to accommodate well placed teeth, with an even bite. Eyes bright, prominent with a kind and placid expression.

UNDESIRABLE: Narrow Head

UNACCEPTABLE: Overshot / Undershot jaw.

BODY - MALE: The neck should be deep and thick, but not too short, blending well into the shoulders. The head should be carried above the spine. Breast prominent, chest giving ample room for heart and lungs, well sprung ribs, wide across the loins, quarters thick and deep, broad full hips, well rounded rump. Straight, level topline, with tail set level with spine. Straight, level underline. Good width between both front and back legs. Feet should be short toed, deep heeled, level soled. They should not turn either outwards or inwards. (The length of the back from shoulder to tail set should be the same or greater than the height of the animal at the shoulder.)

UNDESIRABLE: Over / Undershot jaw. Extremes of any of the following: Narrow Head / Poor top line/ Shallow body/ Narrow rump / High tail setting / Low tail setting / Too short in body.

UNACCEPTABLE: Overshot / Undershot jaw. Wry tail

BODY - FEMALE: The neck should be deep and thick, but not too short, blending well into the shoulders. The head should be carried above the spine. Breast prominent, chest giving ample room for heart and lungs, well sprung ribs, wide across the loins, quarters thick and deep, broad full hips, well rounded rump. Straight, level topline, with tail set level with spine. Straight, level underline. Good width between both front and back legs. Feet should be short toed, deep heeled, level soled. They should not turn either outwards or inwards. (The length of the back from shoulder to tail set should be the same or greater than the height of the animal at the shoulder.)

UNDESIRABLE: Over / Undershot jaw. Extremes of any of the following: Narrow Head / Poor top line/ Shallow body/ Narrow rump / High tail setting / Low tail setting / Too short in body.

Please reload

The DCAI website was designed and is edited by Roz Michelini - for the benefit of the DCAI members and the public. Editorial content of this site is the property of the respective authour/s and may not be reproduced or disceminated without the appropriate reference and credits to the site and the authour. Contact the dextercattle.website@gmail.com for more information about this site and the use of any content.

Information on this site is published in good faith and for proper purose for general information only. Individuals should do their own research into animal management and care and consult a veterianarian for advice on animal health.